An Attendant Lord: H. W. Nevinson’s Friendship with W. B. Yeats
Henry Woodd Nevinson’s first journey to Greece as a tourist in 1894 ruined him for the domestic life in London. Supporting a wife and two children as Secretary of the London Playing Fields Society, he stoked his imagination with visions of the ancient culture as he cycled the city to schedule cricket pitches for clubs. Taking on teaching jobs to make ends meet, he exercised his military ardour by commanding a cadet company for working youths. At night, dreaming of a remote literary life, he read voraciously and wrote poems and stories. But when after two years home he learned that the modern Greeks were rising up against Turkish rule, he could contain himself no longer. He went first to the Byron Society to propose, and then in frustration to the Liberal Forwards to shout, the formation of a British volunteer force. Given three days notice that three other men were going out, he abandoned everything to join them. Fortuitously, just before departure he was introduced to the pro-Greek editor of the Daily Chronicle, H. W. Massingham, who impulsively dubbed Nevinson a correspondent in the event of war. Thus on St Patrick’s Day 1897 Nevinson sailed for Greece once again, at forty a new man of adventure.
KeywordsGhost Egypt Burial Dispatch Hyde
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